Police officers attached to Sangre Grande Court and Process Unit were attacked late yesterday by prisoners, who threw faeces and urine at them from within the court’s holding cell at Sangre Grande Police Station.
The prisoners, most of whom were murder accused, allegedly began throwing faeces and urine at officers as they returned with prisoners from the nearby Magistrate’s Court. The prisoners then set fire to toilet paper and pieces of sponge.
The officers had to run for cover and called for backup. However, officers then refused to attempt to quell the situation in the cells, noting the unhealthy and unsafe situation. But when the fire in the cell got worse, the police called the Fire Service for assistance
A team of fire officers from Sangre Grande station, led by FSO Sookdeo, arrived and quickly put out the fire and washed down the cell. By this time, the street was filled with curious onlookers.
While this was taking place, prisoners who had returned from the Rio Claro and Mayaro Magistrate Courts became restless and began to use obscene language at the police, until they were quieted by officers from Eastern Task Force.
Reliable sources said the trouble began when prisoners asked officers attached to the holding cell to purchase cigarettes for them and they turned down. Some of the prisoners began to knock the walls and then lit fire along the corridor of the holding cells. The staff refused to enter when faeces and urine were thrown at them. Police sources also confirmed about ten murder accused started the disorderly behaviour. Court matters yesterday went until almost 5 pm and this also agitated the prisoners, as some remained in the holding cells all day and did not go before the magistrate.
Police officers were later forced to put some of the prisoners in separate vehicles to take them back to prison.
Police said they will be putting in more security measures for today’s court session since the prisoners should not have had either lighters or matches to start the fires.
Source: www.guardian.co.tt (Ralph Banwarie)